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Coffey County jury finds woman guilty of mistreatment, murder of husband

BURLINGTON, Kan. – A Coffey County jury today found Carol Sue Burris, 69, of New Strawn, Kan., guilty of one count of reckless second degree murder and one count of mistreatment of an elder person, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office reported in a press release.

The charges stemmed from the mistreatment and death of Burris’ husband, Michael D. Burris, in New Strawn from April 2016 to October 2017.

Chief Judge Taylor J. Wine presided over the trial, which began April 22. Sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. June 27, 2019, in Coffey County District Court.

Deputy Attorney General Steve Karrer and Coffey County Attorney Wade H. Bowie II are prosecuting the case. The case was investigated by the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office.

I-35 pavement marking project covers Osage, Franklin and Coffey counties

The Kansas Department of Transportation has started a pavement marking project on Interstate 35. The work begins at the I-35 and U.S. Highway 75 junction and continues northeast to Eisenhower Road at Ottawa.

The existing pavement markings are being removed and replaced. Northbound and southbound I-35 traffic will be restricted to one lane with a reduced speed limit at the work zone. Weather permitting, the project should be finished by late July.

KDOT awarded the construction contract of $950,000 to Traffic Control Company, of St. Louis, Mo. For more information, contact Troy Howard at the KDOT office in Garnett, 785-448-5446, or Priscilla Petersen at the Chanute KDOT office, 620-902-6433.

Boil water advisories issued for multiple public water supply systems in Lyon, Coffey counties

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued boil water advisories for 12 public water supply systems in Lyon and Coffey Counties. KDHE officials issued the advisories because of a line break in Emporia, resulting in a loss of pressure. Failure to maintain adequate pressure may result in a loss of chlorine residuals and bacterial contamination.

The boil water advisory issued for the city of Emporia earlier today remains in effect.

The water systems in Lyon and Coffey counties currently under a boil water advisory are as follows: City of Admire, Lyon County, city of Allen, Lyon County, Coffey County Rural Water District 2E, Coffey County, city of Emporia, Lyon County, city of Hartford, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 1, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 2, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 3, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 4, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 5, Lyon County, city of Olpe, Lyon County, Park Place Communities Management, Lyon County.

The advisories took effect on July 20, 2017, and will remain in effect until conditions that place the systems at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be resolved adequately.

  • Customers should observe the following precautions until further notice:
  • Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation, or use bottled water.
  • Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker.
  • Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
  • Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.
  • If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.

Public water suppliers in Kansas take all measures necessary to notify customers quickly after a system failure. Regardless of whether it is the supplier or KDHE that announces a boil water advisory, KDHE will issue the rescind order following testing at a certified laboratory.

Coffey County man used PlayStation to collect child porn

WICHITA, Kan. – A Coffey County man pleaded guilty today to using a PlayStation video game console to obtain child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Kansas.

The office reported that Michael L. Stratton, 30, Burlington, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography. In his plea, Stratton admitted using a PlayStation 3 to chat about child pornography and trade child pornography.

KBI arrests Coffey County sheriff’s deputy

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Matthew Vander Linden

BURLINGTON, Kan. – An investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation has led to the arrest of Matthew G. Vander Linden, a deputy of the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office.

Vander Linden, 28, was arrested Tuesday afternoon for two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, one count of electronic solicitation, and one count of sexual exploitation of a child. The arrest took place without incident at the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation, which began Dec. 20, was initiated at the request of the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office. Vander Linden has been with the sheriff’s office since March 2014. Effective today, his employment at the sheriff’s office was terminated.

According to a press release, the KBI’s investigation is ongoing, and no further information will be released at this time.

Wind farm under construction; oversize loads head to Coffey County through December

The Ad Astra wind farm in southeast Kansas has begun construction and approximately 900 oversize loads will be traveling the routes listed below to locations in Coffey County for construction of the wind farm. The planned completion of the wind farm is the first week of December. Oversize loads will be traveling the below routes through that time.

The first movement of the windmill components for the wind farm began last week. The public should expect for two components to be delivered per day, Monday through Friday. The loads include transport vehicles that range in size to 209 feet in length, 16 feet 7 inches high, 16 feet wide, and 417,000 pounds gross weight.

Approximately 800 oversize loads will be transported from Emporia on Interstate 35 to U.S. 75, then south at Beto Junction to Coffey County’s 24th Road, then east.

Approximately 100 loads will be transported south out of Emporia on state Highway 99 to U.S. Highway 54, then east to U.S. Highway 75, then north to 24th Road, then east.

U.S. 75 road work in Coffey County to start Wednesday at Osage County line

Wednesday, June 24, the Kansas Department of Transportation expects to begin a 17-mile mill and resurfacing project on U.S. Highway 75 from the Osage County line south to Burlington.

The location of the project’s initial phase has changed. Starting at the Osage-Coffey county line and continuing south to Burlington, the contractor will first mill and then place an asphalt overlay on the roadway. Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone. Traveler delays of 15 minutes or less can be expected during daylight hours.

In mid-July the project activity is expected to move to U.S. 75 inside the city of Burlington. The contractor will replace the concrete pavement at the intersection of U.S. 75 and Neosho Street.

NWS issues tornado warning for Osage, Coffey, Lyon counties

The National Weather Service in Topeka has issued a tornado warning for southwestern Osage County, northwestern Coffey County, and east central Lyon County until 6 p.m. At 5:34 p.m. a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Neosho Rapids and moving northeast at 50 mph. Radar indicated rotation.

Possible impact is flying debris, which will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely. This dangerous storm will be near Reading around 5:50 p.m., and Melvern Lake around 5:55 p.m. This includes Interstate 35 between mile markers 136 and 149.

Coffey County Attorney named as 4th Judicial District judge

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Judge Douglas Witteman

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Sept. 24, 2014, the appointment of Douglas P. Witteman as district judge in the 4th Judicial District of Kansas. Witteman will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas H. Sachse, whose courtroom was in Ottawa. 

Coffey County Lake to host 10th Veterans Memorial Bass Tournament

The 10th annual Kansas Veteran’s Memorial Bass Tournament in memory of fallen Kansas Guard members will take place Saturday, April 26, at Coffey County Lake, south of Wolf Creek Generating Station near Burlington, Kan. on Highway 75.

In her first book, Ottawa author examines grisly, unsolved Coffey County murder

The house where Florence Knoblock was murdered in 1925 still stands in a pasture in Coffey County, Kansas. Photo by Stephan Anderson-Story.

 

An Ottawa author will be speaking about her first book, about a 1925 unsolved Kansas murder, at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at Lyndon Community Center.

Diana Staresinic-Deane’s book, Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder, is about the slaying of a Coffey County woman, Florence Knoblock, which is said to be the most brutal murder in the history of Coffey County.

Osage County Jail Log, Sept. 8 – Sept. 12, 2019

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

Ronald Dwain Presley, 70, Madison: June 26, 1949 – Aug. 30, 2019

MADISON, Kan. – Ronald Dwain Presley, 70, of Madison, Kan., passed away Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, at a Wichita, Kan., hospital. He was born June 26, 1949, in Rickman, Tenn., the son of A.P. and Beulah Copeland Presley.

He moved with his family to northeast Kansas when he was 14 years old. Ron developed a strong lifelong work ethic as a young man. At the age of 16 he went out on his own and took a job at a local apple orchard and later at a local cheese factory.

Judge Godderz to hear case with Kansas Supreme Court, Sept. 10

District Judge Eric Godderz

TOPEKA, Kan. – District Judge Eric Godderz of the 4th Judicial District has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear one case on the court’s docket on Sept. 10, 2019.

After hearing oral arguments, Godderz will join Supreme Court justices in their deliberations and decision drafting.

“I am pleased that District Judge Godderz is taking time from his duties in the 4th Judicial District to sit with the Supreme Court,” said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. “It’s a great help to our court, and we look forward to his contributions in deliberating and eventually deciding this case.”

Since 2007, Godderz has been a judge in the 4th Judicial District, which is composed of Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, and Osage counties. He hears all civil matters in the 4th Judicial District and domestic, criminal, and probate cases in Anderson County.

SOS campaign highlights organization’s strengths and successes

Statement from SOS:

As a nonprofit organization, we are so very grateful to have the support of our community and friends. Another successful SOS Strong campaign has come and gone, all made possible by the selfless efforts of these distinguished men. SOS is excited to announce these amazing individuals collected over $23,000 for our organization, in addition to raising an invaluable amount of public awareness for the clients we serve. Thank you to everyone who participated and supported this initiative.

The spotlight has felt bright for SOS recently, showcasing all the hard work our staff does behind the scenes, as we received some great recognition at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence 16th Annual Awards Ceremony. Over 160 people from across Kansas and eight other states gathered together for this event and SOS was honored to receive two of the four awards presented. SOS Strong was awarded Project of the Year, and Osage County Advocate Teresa Oliver was awarded Advocate of the Year. Teresa and her team do amazing work for our clients. For over a decade, Teresa has helped thousands of domestic violence and sexual assault victims learn how to heal in the aftermath of abuse. These awards reflect countless hours of dedication, for which we are immensely proud of their teamwork.

In addition to being recognized by our peers in the industry, we are equally humbled to be respected by our local communities as well. SOS was voted Best Nonprofit Group for the third consecutive year by the Emporia Gazette Readers’ Choice Awards. This is one of our favorite awards to receive because it speaks to the partnership that has formed between SOS and the numerous lives our organization interacts with on a daily basis. We sincerely cherish this relationship.

It is always hard to share survivor stories because of the emotional nature of our work; personal struggles which are heartbreaking, yet so inspiring to so many in need. We thank you for recognizing the sacrifices our staff make to serve others, as well as the leadership and commitment necessary for supporting the mission we so passionately strive to fulfill. What can often be a pretty dark world becomes brighter knowing we have a community full of survivors, thrivers, donors, volunteers and ambassadors. Your recognition of our efforts truly brings a refreshing light we all need from time to time.

From all of us at SOS, thank you for your continued support and heartfelt appreciation. We couldn’t do this without you.

New Strawn woman sentenced to 10 years in prison for second degree murder, neglect

BURLINGTON, Kan. – A New Strawn, Kan., woman was sentenced today to more than 10 years in prison after a Coffey County jury found her guilty of second degree murder and a related charge in connection with her husband’s death from neglect, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office is reporting.

In a press release today, the attorney general reported Carol Sue Burris, 69, of New Strawn, was found guilty in April of one count of reckless second degree murder and one count of mistreatment of a dependent adult. The charges stemmed from the mistreatment and death of her husband, Michael D. Burris, from April 2016 to October 2017.

Chief Judge Taylor J. Wine presided over the trial and today, Aug. 1, 2019, sentenced Burris to 117 months for second degree murder and 8 months for mistreatment of a dependent adult. The sentences are to be served consecutively in the Kansas Department of Corrections for a total of 125 months.

Deputy Attorney General Steve Karrer, of the Attorney General’s Office, and Coffey County Attorney Wade H. Bowie II prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by the Coffey County Sheriff’s Department.

Area swimmers keep busy with summer meets

On Saturday, June 29, 2019, at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka, Kan., the annual Sunflower State Swimming Games were held. Swimmers from all over the state came to compete in different strokes and distances. Two local swimmers, Martir Ramos and Austin Vest, both members of the Lyndon Swim Team, were competitors at these games and came out successful. Martir placed first in the 200 Individual Medley, third in the 50 Breaststroke, and fourth in the 100 Breaststroke. Austin placed third in the 50 Backstroke and fifth in the 100 Breaststroke. Both boys will finish their summer strong swimming for the Lyndon swim team.


Lyndon hosts annual meet

At the beginning of every summer, swimmers from around Osage and Coffey counties begin practicing and preparing for a summer full of swimming and competing. These area teams, consisting of members from Overbrook, Osage City, Lyndon, Lebo, and Burlington, gather together every Saturday to compete in 80 different events challenging the swimmers in their different strokes and distances.

On July 6, at the Lyndon City Pool, hundreds of swimmers and spectators gathered there to enjoy a morning full of competition.

Lyndon recreation workers who made the Lyndon swim meet possible included, front from left, Cheyanne Kline, Abby Criqui, Aubrey Beyer, and Dalton Fitch, back, Josey Weimer, Mackenzie Hull, Stephen Steggs, Brooke Addleman, Shyann Huffmier, Nicole Baker, and Kyle Baker.

Photos and information thanks to Lisa Reeser.

Texas woman dies in I-35 crash in Osage County early Monday

BETO JUNCTION, Kan. – A Texas woman was killed in a single car accident early Monday morning near Beto Junction on northbound Interstate 35. That accident was followed a few hours later by a semi-truck hitting a Kansas Department of Transportation warning vehicle about a mile away.

A report by the Kansas Highway Patrol said that Patricia M. Falconer, 52, of Canyon Lake, Texas, died in the accident that occurred around 5:30 a.m. Monday, July 15, 2019, about 2.5 miles from the I-35 and U.S. Highway 75 interchange, in Osage County, Kan., known locally as Beto Junction.

The report said Falconer was driving a 1999 Ford Explorer northbound on I-35 near mile marker 158, with a passenger, Jeffrey Tyler Cadman, 27, Canyon Lake, Texas. For an unknown reason, the vehicle left the roadway and entered the center grassy median. The vehicle turned back onto the roadway and crossed both lanes of northbound travel, entering the south ditch. The driver over-corrected and the Explorer rolled several times, coming to rest facing northwest on its wheels in the south ditch of the northbound lanes.

Cadman was listed as having suspected serious injuries and was transported to Overland Park Regional Hospital, Overland Park, Kan. Both Falconer and Cadman were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

About two hours after the fatality accident, at 7:55 a.m., a Kansas Department of Transportation vehicle was involved in a collision with a semi-truck in the vicinity of the earlier crash. A KHP report on that accident said the KDOT truck with a sign board trailer was legally parked on I-35 in the northbound lane about 1.5 miles east of the I-35 and U.S.75 interchange, when a northbound 2019 International truck, driven by Morris J. Guesby, 55, Lawrence, Kan., struck the stopped KDOT truck, a 2009 Sterling.

The driver of the KDOT truck, Christopher A. Staley, 48, Williamsburg, Kan., was transported to Coffey County Hospital, Burlington, Kan., with suspected minor injuries. Guesby was reported as possibly injured and complained of pain, but he was not transported to a hospital. Both drivers were wearing proper safety restraints at the time of the accident.

Eric Eugene Johnson, 61, Lebo: Feb. 15, 1958 – May 30, 2019

LEBO, Kan. – Eric Eugene Johnson, 61, Lebo, Kan., died at his home on May 30, 2019.

Eric was born on Feb. 15, 1958, at Ottawa, Kan., to Leon Johnson and Sharon Lee (Gragg) Johnson.

Eric graduated from Melvern High School, Melvern, Kan., in 1976. He spent most of his life as a construction welder and mechanical maintenance technician, both here and abroad.

NWS issues flash flood warning for east central Kansas

The National Weather Service, Topeka, Kan., has issued a flash flood warning for Osage County, northern Franklin County, southern Douglas County, northwestern Coffey County, and central Lyon County until 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

At 4:07 p.m. today, Osage County Emergency Management reported state Highway 31 was closed west of the roundabout at U.S. Highway 75 due to water over the road.

Thunderstorms with heavy rain have already produced to three inches of rain and another round of heavy rainfall is expected through the early evening. Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly.

The flood warning includes Emporia, Ottawa, Baldwin City, Osage City, Eudora, Wellsville, Overbrook, Lyndon, Centropolis, Lebo, Americus, Pomona, Olpe, Quenemo, Melvern, Lone Star, Neosho Rapids, Reading, Olivet and Pleasant Grove.

Additional rainfall amounts of one to two inches are possible in the warned area. The warning area includes Interstate 35 between mile markers 128 and 198, and the Kansas Turnpike between mile markers 117 and 144.

Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

Osage County Jail Log, April 15 – April 20, 2019

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas